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This is Love

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The pain is insufferable. My eyes are closed, yet I can still hear him – good lord, I wish I could shut my ears.

“Listen to me,” he says harshly while he grips my trembling shoulders. “Damn it, open your eyes!”

I wait a few seconds before obeying. There is no way that I cannot listen to him; something in him always makes me listen to him. I open my eyes. His dark brown ones blaze into mine; they are big with anger, dark with violence.

But there has been a time when his eyes were the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Was that an illusion?

He had a head of dark, wispy hair that got in the way of his eyes. I told him to cut it, but he never got around to it. And he liked to walk with his hands in his jean pockets – but I liked his hands. I liked everything that was his.

He took me to places I've never been before, and showered me with gifts. We shared jokes and laughter, and he even got along with my family. He was the definition of perfection.

But then it started to hurt. He didn't mean it, he said while kissing my hair. He lost his temper, and he was sorry. How could I not believe him? I loved this man more than life itself. I forgave him, thinking that he would never do it again. And we were happy again. With him I was always happy.

So why did he do it again? I was confused. But he was sorry; he begged on his knees and took me on vacation. He was sorry, I said to myself. I forgave him.

The hurting continued. Sometimes it was several times in a row, sometimes it was only one hard blow. I could always tell when they were coming, but I could do nothing. I always closed my eyes when he came onto me, because I didn't want to see his red, mad face. He was supposed to be perfect, his eyes weren't suposed to be flaming with insanity and wrath. The hurt was sharp but brief.

And then he'd break down and stroke my deformed cheeks. Sorry, he repeated. This is love, he said. He only did it because he loved me. He loved me. I believed him. He didn't mean anything, only he was angry. I had to understand, I was the only one who understood, according to him.

This is love, I say to myself now, looking into his eyes. Love is not perfect.

“Stop crying!” He shakes me.

I wish he could kiss my tears away. “I'm sorry,” I choke.

His grip on me softens and he takes me into his arms.

“Oh, I'm sorry. You know I didn't mean it.”

I nod.

“This is love, you know. Do you forgive me?”

I wrap my arm around his waist. “Yes. I love you.”



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